OPINION: Apple is gearing up to reveal the iPhone 15 at an event next week, and while that’s exciting for those with an ageing iPhone waiting for an upgrade, I’m more excited about the release of iOS 17.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to next week’s expected big reveal and the new hardware Apple will release.
The iPhone 15 is said to gain the Dynamic Island introduced to the Pro models last year, along with a new unique stacked main camera sensor that’s said to improve image stabilisation and low-light photography, and possibly even the jump from Lightning to USB-C.
That’ll no doubt make the iPhone 15 a tempting upgrade for those with an older iPhone on the hunt for an upgrade, but compared to an iPhone 14, the changes are looking pretty minimal overall.
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If the rumours are correct, there aren’t any new game-changing features that’ll completely rethink the way you use an iPhone – it’ll just make certain things a little better.
iOS 17, on the other hand, is coming to a whole bunch of iPhones going all the way back to the iPhone Xr – 20 in total. That’s a pretty big deal because, more than previous iterations of iOS, iOS 17 has a particular focus on improving the iPhone-to-iPhone experience.
That comes in several forms, from a new Contact Poster feature that lets you design your own call screen that’ll appear on other iPhones that you call to a new way to use AirDrop, simply by tapping two iPhones together. In fact, there are several new features tied to the new ‘bump’ feature, including the ability to quickly and easily share contact details.
The enhancements don’t end there either; other features include the ability to leave a video voicemail if someone doesn’t answer a FaceTime call, as well as new Message features like ‘Check-in,’ which notifies friends and family of your safe arrival at your destination.
The fact that iOS 17 will be immediately available to a wide range of iPhone users will profoundly impact how you digitally interact with iOS-based friends and family, much more than any new potential feature of the iPhone 15.
But that’s not all I’m excited about; going beyond the iPhone-to-iPhone capabilities, iOS 17 introduces much-needed improvements to the overall iOS experience. One of my personal favourites is interactive widgets – the natural next step for widgets since their introduction in 2020’s iOS 14.
Up until now, widgets have been fairly static, displaying handy information but not much else. Tapping on a widget would only take you to the app, but in iOS 17, you’ll be able to interact with widgets directly from your home or lock screen.
This means you can check reminders off your to-do list from the Reminders widget on your home screen or control smart home tech via the Home widget, and I’m sure there will be plenty of updates to existing third-party widgets to take advantage of the new functionality.
Another exciting addition is the new Standby Mode, which effectively turns your iPhone into a compact smart display when plugged in and positioned horizontally – something very easy to do if you’ve got a MagSafe-enabled iPhone and a MagSafe dock. In Standby mode, you’ll see a completely new UI with large widgets providing at-a-glance info, along with incoming notifications and calls.
Siri has also received updates that enable you to activate the virtual assistant simply by saying ‘Siri’ and have it continue listening for follow-up questions. This makes interacting with Siri feel more like a conversation rather than issuing commands and questions.
With all that due for release in the next couple of weeks, aren’t you more excited about iOS 17 than the iPhone 15 too?